A few weeks before leaving for Iceland, we made reservations for the Golden Circle tour. The tour includes a visit to Þingvellir, Geysir and Gulfoss. This is a popular tour that many visitors make because of the close proximity of these locations to Reykjavik. Þingvellir is the site where the first democratic parliament was formed in the year 930. The Geysir Geothermal Field is the location where geysirs (or geysers) got their name. Gulfoss is a spectacular waterfall.
Most of the day was overcast with lots a rain — nothing unusual for Iceland during September and October. Iceland is located on the junction of the North American and European tectonic plates. Þingvellir is located right on the rift that is formed by these tectonic plates. We stopped here at the Visitor’s Center where the wind was howling! We then moved on towards Geysir, arriving at about noon. Angela and I made our way to the geysir “Strokkur” that typically erupts every 5 minutes. I set the camera for continuous shooting and managed to make an image of peak of the action.
This was my third trip to Iceland, so I was not concerned about missing any images. After having lunch, we headed to Gulfoss. The word “foss” is Icelandic for falls. The water flowing into the Hvita river is melting glacial waters from the nearby Langjökull glacier.
The river flows down over a series of ledges that forms the upper falls and then flows over the edge of the huge lower falls the feeds into a chasm.
Here is another image looking down into the chasm.
The volume of water flowing through Gulfoss is astounding. The total annual precipitation in Colorado probably represents a few minutes of the flow at Gulfoss!
This volume of water can really only be appreciated by visiting the falls, as Angela soon discovered.
Before leaving for Iceland, one of Angela’s friends had mentioned visiting the hot springs at Blue Lagoon. Investigating further, we decided that it was pricey. We selected this particular Golden Circle tour (operated by Sterna) because it also ended with a visit to the Secret Lagoon. Water in the pool is fed from geothermal springs that supply natural hot water to springs. I made this panorama of the pool area after we spent a 1/2 hour in the pool.
The hot springs are also used to warm greenhouses in the nearby town of Fluðir. Across the river are greenhouses where tomatoes are grown.
After our swim in the hot springs, we headed back to Reykjavik at the end of the day.